A brief history of this book, page 1
by David Lucas Burge

The seed idea for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Way of Grace came during Teacher Training in Forges-Les-Eaux, France, Christmas, 1992.

Our group had just gone to a room where we could practice speaking out our introductory talks. Someone came to the door and whispered to me, "Come, Gurudev wants to see you." I left the group and followed.

When I entered the door, I saw Sri Sri sitting comfortably on a chair. The room felt very chilly.

"Don't sit on the floor, it's too cold," he told me as I entered the room. I sat on a chair and immediately he handed me some photos, saying, "Here, these are for the book."

We browsed through many photos, deciding which were good enough for publication. Of course I did not know what book Guruji was talking about. Later, he clarified that the photos were for the "the 10th Anniversary Book." As a dutiful secretary, I took careful notes so that I could present them to the person in charge of this project.

I started to feel guilty about sitting on a chair (being taller, I had to look down as we talked). So I finally could not resist moving to the cold floor to sit at his feet, placing photos all over the floor into various piles as an excuse. (Next day I came down with a cold.)

Together, Guruji and I sat and searched for the very best photos. Unlike some devotees who might say that any photo of the Master is great, I found myself telling him that many of the photos were unusable or bland. I pointed out a lively one and said, "You see, it's good when the photo has some ..." -- and then I stopped short.

"Character?" he asked, reading my mind and filling in the missing word that I was embarrassed to say. After all, I did not want to imply that any of the photos of him lacked character! We laughed, and this picture ended up in the photo gallery (fourth row, photo 11).

After our meeting, I asked people who was in charge of this "10th Anniversary Book." No one seemed to know. After checking with many people who had been around Sri Sri for awhile, Shirley and I finally realized that Gurudev had wordlessly assigned this project to me. Now what to do?

A wintertime stroll with the Master, Forges-Les-Eaux, France, 1992

Gary and I sent out announcements about the book to all the centers. Wherever we traveled on courses, we asked people for their input so we could get started with this project. We were deluged with wonderful photos and stories from friends and devotees around the world.

But we did not officially start on the book right away. We didn't even have a clue what to write about.

We spent a lot of time travelling with Sri Sri in those days, and each time we would come home and start to feel settled, we found ourselves off again on a new adventure. Soon we realized we would have to do less jetting around -- and more work!

As time marched on, we could no longer do a "10th Anniversary Book" -- or even a "12th Anniversary Book" ... so now what should we call it? ...

The authors with Sri Sri, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 1997

Next: A Brief History, page 2 >>>